276 B. POLEVOI hitherto regarded as attainable only by a man of perfect physical fitness, and then only by one out of a hundred. You are not simply Citizen Meresyev, you are a great experimenter----Ah! I've got it going at last! It must have been stopped up with something----And so I say, we cannot, we have no right to treat you as an ordinary airman, no right, do you understand? You have started an important experiment, and it is our duty to help you in every way we can. But in what way? That you must tell us. What can we do to help you?" Kapustin refilled his pipe, lit up again, and again the red glow, appearing and vanishing, snatched his broad face and fleshy nose out of the gloom. He promised to arrange with the chief of the school to allow Meresyev an extra number of flights, and suggested to Alexei that he should draw up a training programme for himself. "But look how much fuel that will take!" said Alexei regretfully, amazed at the simple way this little, ungainly man had dissolved all his doubts. "Fuel is important, of course, especially now. We measure it out by the thimbleful. But there are things more precious than fuel," answered Kapustin, and with that he carefully knocked the warm ashes out of his pipe against his heel. Next day Meresyev commenced to train alone, and lie did this not only with the perseverance he had shown when he was learning to walk, run and dance; he did it like one inspired. He tried to analyse the technique of flying, to study every detail, to divide it into the minutest motions, and to learn each one separately. He now studied, yes, studied, what he had acquired instinctively in his youth; he acquired intellectually what he had in the past attained by practice and habit. Mentally dividing the pro- cess of handling a plane into its component parts, he learned the special knack for each of them and trans- ferred all the working sensations of the feet to his shins. This was very hard and painstaking work, and the results were so small that they were barely perceptible. Nevertheless, every time he went up Alexei felt that the plane was becoming more and more grafted to him, that it was becoming more obedient to him.